ROBBINS, RICHARD JOSEPH 09/27/96 REMAINS RETURNED Name: Richard Joseph Robbins Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: Date of Birth: 31 October 1931 Home City of Record: Cleveland OH Date of Loss: 19 April 1966 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 173257N 1054147E (WE742403) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A1E Refno: 0306 Other Personnel in Incident: Joseph O. Brown (missing from nearby O1F) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1990 with the assistance of one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 1998. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: In Southeast Asia, all tactical strike aircraft had to be under the control of a FAC, who was intimately familiar with the locale, the populous, and the tactical situation. The FAC would find the target, order up U.S. fighter/bombers from an airborne command and control center, mark the target accurately with white phosphorus (Willy Pete) rockets, and control the operation throughout the time the planes remained on station. After the fighters had departed, the FAC stayed over the target to make a bomb damage assessment (BDA). The FAC also had to ensure that there were no attacks on civilians, a complex problem in a war where there were no front lines and any hamlet could suddenly become part of the combat zone. A FAC needed a fighter pilot's mentality, but but was obliged to fly slow and low in such unarmed and vulnerable aircraft as the Cessna O1 Bird Dog, and the Cessna O2. The Douglas A1 Skyraider ("Spad") is a highly maneuverable, propeller-driven aircraft designed as a multipurpose attack bomber or utility aircraft. The H and J models were single seat aircraft, whereas the E model generally carried two crewmen. The A1 was first used by the Air Force in its Tactical Air Command to equip the first Air Commando Group engaged in counterinsurgency operations in South Vietnam, and later used the aircraft as escort for rescue units. On April 19, 1966, an O1F Bird Dog and a A1E Spad were lost near Na Pho in Khammouane Province, Laos. Their precise missions are not clear from public records, and in fact, the Air Force cannot determine the unit assignment of the O1F pilot, Capt. Joseph O. Brown. Both Brown and the A1 pilot, Capt. Richard J. Robbins were lost in hostile situations, and both are listed as Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered. The Air Force reports that Brown's aircraft was on a FAC mission when his aircraft was struck by hostile fire. Brown then radioed that part of the right horizontal stabilizer had been blown off, and that he was going to a higher altitude. The aircraft was observed to roll twice while in a steep dive and crash. No parachute was seen, but white smoke was seen to rise from the crash site. Unspecified evidence was received by the Department of the Air Force on April 24, 1966 to confirm that Capt. Brown died at the time of the incident. Brown and Robbins are among nearly 600 Americans lost in Laos. Even though the Pathet Lao stated publicly that they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners, not one American held in Laos was ever released -- or negotiated for. Tragically, since U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War ended, nearly 10,000 reports have been received by the U.S. Government relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia. Many authorities have reluctantly concluded that hundreds are still alive in captivity today. There is every indication that the Lao can account for Robbins and Brown -- dead or alive. It's time we brought our men home. [BITS0928.96 09/29/96] NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF FAMILIES FOR THE RETURN OF AMERICA'S MISSING SERVICEMEN WORLD WAR II - KOREA - COLD WAR - VIETNAM DOLORES ALFOND - 206-881-1499 BITS 'N' PIECES LYNN O'SHEA ---- 718-846-4350 E-MAIL PGGK94A@PRODIGY.COM SEPT. 28, 1996 ################ THE PENTAGON ANNOUNCED THE REMAINS IDENTIFICATION OF AIR FORCE CAPT. RICHARD J. ROBBINS, OF PHOENIX, AZ. CAPT. ROBBINS WAS LOST APRIL 19, 1966 DURING A SEARCH AND RESCUE MISSION OVER LAOS. A JOINT U.S. -LAO TEAM EXCAVATED THE CRASH SITE IN MAY OF 1995. RECOVERED WERE "PERSONAL EFFECTS, AIRCRAFT WRECKAGE AND HUMAN REMAINS." TO THE ROBBINS FAMILY WE OFFER OUR PRAYERS AND SINCERE HOPE THAT YOU NOW HAVE YOUR ANSWERS.